BRAND  & CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

LIVE CLIENT / PITCH WINNER / 4 WEEK PROJECT

We invented a word to help redefine a region and showcase what makes it unique.

ASK

How can Virginia Tourism unite three towns in Southwest Virginia (Bristol, Abingdon and St. Paul) to bring more people to the area?

PROBLEM

The Appalachian region carries some baggage. The term Appalachia comes with the stereotypes of backwoods, barren and unwelcoming.

REALITY

When visiting, we didn't see those stereotypes at all. We saw the Appalachian spirit. The Appalachian spirit is resilient and proud of being from this region. It's a spirit that always welcomes you, just the way you are. It's a spirit unlike any other.

OPPORTUNITY

By highlighting that Appalachian spirit, we realized we could unite these three towns and own the conversation around Appalachia.

CONCEPT

To do that, we invented a word as unique as the culture we encountered - Appalachiacana.

Appalachiacana derives from the Appalachian mountains and the word Americana which represents the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.

MANIFESTO 

BRANDING

BRAND EXPLORATION

Throughout this project we saw the ways in which Appalachia has been defined  by outside perceptions.

 

We created an open source brand with less emphasis on strict brand rules and more emphasis on the word itself. This allows the people of the area to define what Appalachiacana means to them.

To make this campaign successful we first had to get the communities of Bristol, Abingdon and St. Paul to believe in the brand and show off the Appalachian spirit that made the area so compelling.

To do that, we created internal brand assets to introduce the brand to the region and inspire pride amongst residents.

A bumper sticker that  nods to the idea that this region can't be contained by labels. 

License plates that let residents show off pride for their home.

BUILDING BRAND AMBASSADORS

Signs that welcome visitors to the region while creating visible boundaries.

THE BRIDGE

To channel internal pride and share it with the world we created an Appalachiacana post card. These post cards will be provided in community spots such as coffee shops and stores. Residents are encouraged to send this to out-of-town friends or create "open invitations" that can be dropped off at designated locations and used as marketing pieces.

EXTERNAL MARKETING

When planning vacations, 50% of people rely on recommendations from friends and family. 33% turn to social media and only 9% look at print ads (Mintel: Vacation Inspirations 2019).

With a small budget, we leaned into a series of experiential tactics that seek to attract and reward those that embody the Appalachian spirit while sparking conversations of the area.

Buskers Activation

We’ll place buskers in major cities within easy traveling distance to Appalachicana (Columbus, Washington, DC, Raleigh) playing the country and bluegrass music this area holds close to its heart.

 

When a person lingers a little too long, dancing, or gives the buskers a $20 instead of a $5, they have the Appalachian spirit and they’ll be rewarded with a trip to Appalachiacana.

Muddy ATV Activation

We’ll park muddy ATVs caked from the trails of St. Paul in the middle of busy urban areas and ask people to help us clean them. The person that stops, rolls up their suit sleeves, and gets a little muddy with us has the Appalachian spirit and will also be rewarded with a trip.

RADIO

We created radio spots that tell small snippets of the larger than life and often unbelievable stories we heard throughout Appalachiacana.

Barter Theatre
Norton Grape

IMPLEMENTATION

We are working with Virginia Tourism to implement this campaign and expect it to be live by Spring 2021.

TEAM

I don't know what I'm doing, but I know how to figure it out.